The audience factor

The audience factor in an online presentation significantly changes the perceived impact of that presentation. The value of any presentation is the product of the message, media and delivery. Importantly this value is in the opinion of the individual audience member. In a live presentation, the audience experience of the delivery is very similar. In an online presentation, this experience will vary hugely due to wifi, device and environment of the audience member. This will affect the perceived value of the presentation and cannot be influenced by the presenter.

the audience factor

Consider the “presentation” as an expensive electronic device purchased from an online supplier. In a live presentation all audience members receive the same device delivered by the presenter. In an online presentation, the device is despatched but may be received, delivered broken, to the wrong address, late, with pieces missing, the wrong model or even not delivered at all. The multiplicity of issues that influence (and principally) reduce the audience factor include the wifi signal, the viewing device, and viewing environment.

In modern life, wifi, or some form of data stream, is a fundamental to our online existence. The quality or even loss of a that may degrade audio or visual quality and affect the impact of the presentation. This may not be uniform even with a single address. Bandwidth and its consistency will significantly affect the audience factor.

There is no uniform viewing device. Some will be reading this blogpost on a mobile phone screen, some on a massive computer monitor. Even as you read, it is likely that you have multiple tabs open in your chosen browser on your device. These variables affect the product delivered. Similarly audio played through tiny speakers is markedly inferior to high quality, noise cancelling headphones and of course all of of this will dramatically change the audience factor.

The viewing environment of each individual audience member will vary. Sat at a desk with a notebook and pen will be a different experience compared to an audience member snuggled on a sofa with a blanket, their dog and a large glass of wine. Distraction from other devices and its notifications, people, windows, food and even delivery drivers all are beyond the control of the audience. Who among us can claim to have maintained attention 100% of the time during a live presentation? Fewer still hold this attention in an online presentation. Even you have just checked your phone. Or you are considering doing so now.

The audience factor significantly impacts the value of a presentation. In a live presentation this is directly under the influence of the presenter and is almost uniform. In an online presentation the audience factor will vary hugely, is almost completely out with the influence of the presenter and they know nothing of that. A presentation with a great message, beautiful and supportive media delivered with engagement and passion may not be received if delivered to the wrong address. This is the audience factor.

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